Betty Pula Morton Shortlisted for 2019 Hadley’s Art Prize

The Bush Garden - Artists of Ampilatwatja exhibition is an exciting collection of works from this small community north-east from Alice Springs. One artist included in the show is Betty Pula Morton. Betty has just been short listed for the prestigious Hadley's Art Prize. This award celebrates paintings and drawings of the Australian landscape by contemporary Australian artists. Here is an interview with the Community Art Manager for the Artists of Ampilatwatja Aboriginal Corporation, Caroline Hunter.  She discusses the excitement around Betty's nomination and travel to attend the Awards in Tasmania.

Betty has been shortlisted for very prestigious Hadley Art Award, which is an event hosted in Hobart, Tasmania. The shortlist includes thirty Australian artists and it's one of the most prestigious landscape painting awards in Australia. There is a $100,000 first prize.

We've been invited to attend the awards night. This is going to be a great opportunity to meet the judges and the other shortlisted artists. I hadn't given too much thought to how cold it will be in Tasmania in July, so I've been keeping my eye on the weather. The temperature is ranging from two degrees to a top of nine. We'll certainly need to invest in thermals.

Betty is looking forward to having a look around Hobart and together we'll visit some galleries. There is usually strong interest in Betty's art because it's so accessible and warm. Betty paints plants and landscape using really vibrant colours, her palette is quite extraordinary.

Betty Pula Morton
Betty Pula Morton
Betty Pula Morton | My Country – Bush Medicine Plants | Jap 016442
Betty Pula Morton | My Country – Bush Medicine Plants | Jap 016442

The Guardian newspaper used Betty's painting as a front page for their online story about Hadley's Art prize. People really respond well to Betty's work because it's just so vibrant and it's very feminine. It really does depict the country quite accurately even though the colour palette is so vivid.

As well as living in the community near the art centre, Betty has also lived in Adelaide for quite a while. She has painted for about twenty years. Betty is a devoted grandmother and she has many grandchildren. Her work routine means she comes down to the Art Centre, collects her materials and she heads off home which is where she prefers to paint.

Betty's paintings tend to fall into a couple of different styles. She does either a landscape without hills, or she paints in the hills and skies. Both of them are quite lovely. Some of Betty's work has been produced as a wonderful wallpaper and textile range and this has been very well received.

Betty Pula Morton  |  My Country – Bush Medicine Plants |
Jap 016442
Betty Pula Morton | My Country – Bush Medicine Plants | Jap 016442

Recently Betty travelled to Brisbane to see her work in an exhibition. Like the other artists, she enjoys having the opportunity to travel. It is also a joy for her to see the works displayed in a beautiful gallery setting.

These trips are a way for us to celebrate what the artists do. It's a deserving opportunity for them just to have time out, and be treated like VIP.

Betty is great to travel with, she's a delight. We've taken the steps to arrange a passport, in the hope that we have opportunities in the future to travel. Betty is enthusiastic, she's lovely company. Down in Tasmania we will be roomies together the whole time which will be really nice. We all hope that Betty is this year's winner of the Hadley's Art prize. Fingers crossed.

Caroline Hunter

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Artists of Ampilatwatja Share Their Bush Garden

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